University of Tasmania
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Policy responses to environmentalism in liberal democratic political systems : a case study of ecologically sustainable development in Australia

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posted on 2023-05-26, 18:03 authored by McCall, TJ
Policy Responses to Environmentalism in Liberal Democratic Political Systems: A Case Study of Ecologically Sustainable Development in Australia Liberal democratic political systems faced numerous political challenges in the 1980s and 1990s. One of the most significant was the increasing attention to the environment, and the concomitant rise of environmentalism as a social and political force. Environmentalism posed an unique challenge through its questioning of one of the fundamental paradigms of the liberal economic state - a commitment to growth. This thesis focuses on how the Australian liberal democratic systems responded to the political challenge posed by environmentalism through a case study of the Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) process. This thesis argues that this process was framed by a series of legitimating tasks: the need to secure economic stability and growth; the need to maintain order and the need to 'stay afloat' in the global economy. These tasks provide a series of structural imperatives that shape and constrain the policy responses to environmentalism. At the same time the state faced an increasingly complex and uncertain policy environment, with demands for a more open, participatory policy process. These elements provide competing ideas and values within the environmental policy process, identified as competing discourses. This thesis utilises an analytic framework drawn from discourse analyses of the ESD process, with a particular emphasis on the manufacturing sector. The thesis examines the ESD process in Australia, and the establishment of sectoral specific working groups such as that focusing on manufacturing. It is within the sectoral working groups that alternative discourses over ESD were articulated. Analysis of the ESD process in general, and within the manufacturing sectoral working group in particular, provides the opportunity to examine how significant environmental challenges were identified and met. An examination of the competing discourses within the ESD process, both in general and in the specific case as applied to the manufacturing sector, provides a key to the successful institutionalisation of environmental conflict. Utilising post-positivist discourse analysis identifies the complexities in this process sometimes subsumed as incorporation or cooptation. This analysis identifies the key elements of competing discourses, the influence these discourses have on policy outcomes, and how these outcomes in turn help to frame ongoing policy responses, and help reinforce the legitimating tasks of government.


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Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). For consultation only. No loan or photocopying permitted until 26/01/2003. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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